April 28, 2000 – Friday – 7:53 a.m.

April is ending.  As are many other things.  I am no longer a full-time student, and Marie and I have just come through a really difficult time.

I think the past week really traumatized me, so much so that I can hardly remember the harsh words that were spoken to me.  I feel my mind is trying to forever forget them, like a scab covering a wound and allowing new skin to grow.  I’m tempted to not write about this at all, but I should put something down in these pages.

Clearly hurt and rejected after spending a week with my friends in North Carolina, a vulnerable Marie and I visited her family.  And while they are kind in action, I didn’t have a great time these past few days in New Jersey, one, because I was sick, and two, because there just wasn’t an abundance of joy and peace, at least not when you compare it to the amount of joy and peace in all my friends in Banner Elk.  So, once we headed back to Virginia, all of that pain and defensiveness bubbled up in Marie, and she became very critical toward me and of all my friends.

She said it was unnatural and immoral of me to have as many female friends as I do.  And, as if that didn’t hurt enough, she then accused me of only being involved with the youth group at Parkway because I was sexually attracted to all the girls in the youth group.  She said that my friendship with girls like Sterling, Christin, and Kimberly was inappropriate and that I should be ashamed of myself.

Much more was said, many more stabs were taken at my heart, but I pulled off the road, got out of the car and found a distant ball park, where I sat on the bleachers and stared off into the landscapes of Delaware, trying to make sense of what had just happened with this girl I want to marry.

I don’t know if I’ve ever been more hurt.  Sterling, Christin, and Kimberly and their families and I all adore each other.  We are fellow believers together.  They take care of me, I like spending time with them, and yes Christin crushed on me for a while, but nothing ever happened.  I took her to her prom and I didn’t even kiss her.  The whole reason I didn’t pursue a relationship with her was because she was too young.  I sat there alone for a long time, and eventually heard from the Lord that Marie’s accusations were false.

So, I returned to the car.  By the look on her face, it was clear she knew she was out of line.  She apologized.  We drove home.

I prayed silently as we drove, and God gave me a very clear answer that I love my friends, and the fact that many of them are women is not a sin.  What Marie said to me reveals much more about her heart and mindset than it did mine, and, after spending a week with her family, it’s clear to see that she was raised in such a negative and narrow mindset.  We both got to experience where each of us came from these past two weeks, and the fact that we both came from two different words really broke us.  She felt like she didn’t belong with my group of friends and possibly even felt like she doesn’t have as good of friends as I do, and I felt rejected by (and bored with) her family.

So there it is.  God is breaking us.  Or maybe he’s sharpening us.

Perhaps this will make us a stronger couple than we were before.  Perhaps we won’t be able to recover from this.  Time will tell.

April 21, 2000 – Friday – 8:05 a.m.

I’m in Metuchen, New Jersey again.  And my recent days have been a learning experience.  On the 15th Marie and I drove to Banner Elk.  We visited Tracey’s and Lindy’s first.  Everyone heard we were there and then almost suddenly their living room was full of nearly 20 dear friends wanting to see me.   That was a bit overwhelming for Marie since most of them were girls.  Sarah even showed up and hugged me tightly.

Saturday night we saw Hamlet on campus.  What a wonderful production!  It had one of the most ambitious sets I’ve ever seen on that stage.  On Sunday morning we went to Banner Elk Christian Fellowship, then to hike on Grandfather Mountain, then to visit Leslie and her family, and then to visit Heaton, then to visit Sharon and her girls, and it was just a huge day.  And when I say “we,” I don’t mean Marie and I, I mean everyone, all my dear friends.  Needless to say, Marie got placed aside a bit.  I tried to get her to join in on the fun, but she didn’t.

We talked that evening, and she cried.  She cried because she felt so lonely.  She felt there was this huge world that she had to compete with.  And the next three days passed in that same fashion.  One of those days we drove with Sharon down to Asheville, and we realized that this world of Lees-McRae had already been defined for me.  I knew this place without Marie.  It felt natural for me to cling to them while in this land, for I had no memory of ever clinging to Marie in these mountains.

Marie’s world is three family-members.

Mine is 25 friends.

I never realized how unique my college experience was until I saw it overwhelm another soul.

I still got to see everyone and get caught up.  Curtis and Megan came down.  It was so weird to see them married.  Dan was there for two days, then he left to go snorkeling in the Florida Keys.  Vince is leaving on the 8th of May for Bolivia.  Allen is marrying Jessica in June.  Abigail and Tracey’s band is doing wonderful in the area.  Ann-Marie is moving down to Florida after graduation to work in a repertory theater.  Charlie and Kate are getting married on June 24th.

It was the last time Dan, Allen, Vince, Curtis, and myself would be together for at least the next two years.  And who knows… maybe forever.

Marie and I learned much about ourselves during our five days in Banner Elk.  We left on Thursday to drive up here to New Jersey.  We took the Blue Ridge Parkway until Roanoke and looked at that city a bit.  Then we took the Skyline Drive to Front Royal.

The drive through Shenandoah was beautiful and misty.  Then we drove through parts of Pennsylvania that I’ve never seen before.  I came down with a horrible head cold during the drive, and so here I am super sick in New Jersey.  I think they want to take me to their family doctor.

April 10, 2000 – Monday – 7:47 a.m.

I’m back in Virginia Beach now.  The weekend and the wedding was so great.  I’m getting to know Marie’s family better and I believe they really like me.  I can see future holidays being spent in their adorable home.  I’m seeing their strengths and their weaknesses, but overall the weekend brought Marie and I closer together.  I’m thankful for that.

It snowed up there yesterday.

After the wedding we had dinner at a Bob Evans in West Chester, PA with Marie’s friends Aimee and Simon.  Simon is from England.  We really hit it off.

It was so nice to make two new friends in a brand new town in a state I’ve only passed through before.

This Saturday on the 15th, Marie and I are going to Banner Elk.  I can’t wait for her to meet my friends!  How exciting!

God is blessing me like crazy through this beautiful woman.

Thank you sweet Jesus.

January 11, 2000 – Tuesday – 11:53 p.m.

My one and only full-blooded brother turns 25 in six days.  My how are lives are controlled by numbers.  But I feel they are important to God.  I want them to be important to me as well.

Marie and I have started a book together.  It is a journal, a collection, a piece of ourselves made with pen and paper.  No one is meant to read it but us.  Yet I wonder if it will be discovered one day.

Perhaps the truest art is the undiscovered art.  And I will know no other true art except my own.

I’ve learned that I’ve become very bored very quickly when I write about the unimportant things in my journal.  You know, just what I do and not who I am.  When I read back in my earlier books, all I see are my immaturities.  So Lord, help these times in my journal bring me closer to you and to myself.

Help me to spell out my soul.  Guide me in the discovery of what you have created inside me.  Lord, I fear I may not know who I am.  Erase the conceit.  Recreate me.  Join me to you first.  Then to Marie.

Recreate us together.

Everything good has its time and place.

Days with Dan, Allen, Vince, and Curtis in McAllister are no more.

Days with Marie are just beginning.

Spend time with me Lord.

December 28, 1999 – Tuesday – 9:30 a.m.

It feels like much time has passed.  Four days remain.

Marie and I had a nice visit on the 23rd.  The next morning we went to Williamsburg with her family, who are adorable by the way.  I want so much to be a part of them.  Please God, may your will be done.

It snowed while we were in Williamsburg, and then I headed north to Waldorf, Maryland.  Every member of my mom’s side of the family was there, and we had a beautiful Christmas.  I left around 2:00 p.m. to head towards Mt. Airy, where I met up with Lindy.  She was her lovely self, and we talked about our wonderful friends.  She has found her home in North Carolina and will probably stay there forever.

Jason, my old youth pastor, sent me a Christmas card, and Tenielle called last night.

I miss Marie so bad.  How wonderful that my heart longs for her.  I will see her in about eight days.

The year is ending.

I’ll write more later.

December 21, 1999 – Tuesday – 10:15 p.m.

Vince and I experienced the most beautiful sunset in the world last night.  We were out at Back Bay Wildlife Refuge.  It was unbelievable.  God is so big, so grand, and I see Him every day.

I called Marie this evening.  She sounded beautiful.  She said she wrote me a letter.  What a lovely creation oh God.  She is yours, not mine.

She will be here in two days, but I’ll only get to see her a little while and then she’ll be back eight days later.

This relationship is the truest one I’ve seen or known.  I am overwhelmed with joy and thanksgiving.

There are ten days remaining in this millennium.  Vince lies to my left reading Passion and Purity.  My small Christmas tree is blinking in front of us with wrapped Christmas presents underneath.  We are listening to Whisper loaned to me by a beautiful girl now in New Jersey.  But she feels so close to me tonight.

Justin visited with us yesterday and Sunday.  He is doing very well.  What a great friend!

God’s blessings continue to multiply, so much so that I feel I can’t contain all the joy.  He’s given me so much in talent, in Marie, and in friends.

It is in dying that we are born.

Jesus broke the bread before he multiplied it.

Did my breaking come my senior year of Lees-McRae?  My first year of Regent?  Or is my true breaking yet to come?

Oh Lord, please have your way.

Teach me about all that is good in you.  Melt me away.  I don’t want to exist.  Only you Lord.  Take me over.  Take me over.

I love you my sweet savior.

 

November 21, 1999 – Sunday – 8:35 a.m.

It has been so long since I’ve written.  I guess I’ve been occupied.

Marie and I have been affirming each other more and more.  She is coming to church with me this morning.

Sarah sent me an email saying she was in love with me and that she is sorry for all she did.  I wrote her back forgiving her and telling her that I met the woman I wanted to marry.

I also wrote Mary, and she said for me not to go off and find a girl when there is one in Oklahoma who is still in love with me.

Mary and Sarah once meant so much to me, but now they only offer words on a screen. Marie is right in front of me.

I acted in two different directing scenes on Friday and I even directed my own.  All went well.

Vince is coming to spend about three weeks with me.  The bookstore needs some extra help, so he is going to live with me and take the temporary job.

These days are just full of unbelievable grace.  Marie is turning into my best friend.  I’m creating the Lord’s art.  My soul is completely free.  I’m finding beauty in this land, and it is mostly in Marie’s eyes.  What did I ever do to deserve such beauty?

The days ahead hold so much change.

It is a full moon on Tuesday, so Marie and I will return to that field in North Carolina to celebrate a full passing of the moon over our great friendship.  She will travel home for Thanksgiving the next morning and I will stay here and try to write a short screenplay.  I’ll visit with Tracey, Vince, and Justin, and I’ll work in the bookstore.

December will bring the final weeks of school, as well as all the final preparations for DANG!.  We had a rehearsal for it last night and it was just perfect.  God’s hands are all over this!

Marie and I are making plans to see each other over Christmas.  I can’t wait to meet her family.  Thank you Jesus for handling this relationship.  You are all that is perfect and pure and beautiful.  I love you Lord!